Working Title: What Happened at Tumbolt

Great great grandfather Nichols had decided to move to new lands and try his hand at ranching, so he gathered his riches, his wife and his 11 children and headed west.  The family made it to Colorado before three of the children died from an illness, probably influenza.  Great great grandfather Nichols found the area to be agreeable, so instead of pushing on west, he proceeded to purchase land where he was.  Elder Nichols was a kind and loving husband and father but was ruthless and nearly wicked in business so before all was said and done, he has purchased all 5000 acres between the mountain and the river gaining a monopoly on everything from grazing land to the water needed for livestock.

With that boon, Elder Nichols dominated more than just the purchased land.  He settled himself as a force to be reckoned with. Every other human inhabitant for 500 miles around knew of Elder Nichols and either feared him so much that they left the area or admired him so much they groveled and tried to be a part of things no matter at what level. 

But Elder Nichols was, at heart, a family man and in the end, that was the deciding factor in all he did.  As his 5 living sons becamse of age, Elder deeded them each a section of the land where they built their own homes and proceeded to marry and raise families.  Each of these sons seemed to thrive in the life given to them.  Except for one.

Turner Nichols was a problem from birth.  He had been the last son and had been the most difficult for Elder and his wife, Patience.  Turner was a spiteful, cruel child.  He would taunt and torment his siblings, especially the younger girls for no other reason than he was able to do so.  He was large for his age and from an early age used that size to get his way.

When Turner was 14 years of age, he left home.  No one knew where he had gone and his parents mourned his loss even though their home finally became one of peace and quiet.  The younger girls had never known such peace and began to thrive.  Elder and Patience knew Turner was difficult and that he probably was cruel to the younger children, but he was never caught in his actions so could not be proven as a bully.  When Turner left, his parents silently breathed a sigh of relief, not only for the younger children, but for themselves as well.

No word was heard from or about Turner Nichols until several years later when it was reported he had gone to prison for murder.  elder and Patience were up in years by then and Elder’s heart was failing so his children never told the parents of Turner’s imprisonment. Nor did they tell of his death a few years later from a fight with a fellow inmate.

What none of the family had known until much later was that Turner had, at one point, actually married a young schoolteacher named Penelope. Together, they had three children.  When Turner was sent to prison, Penelope and the children were left on their own until Turner’s older brother, Mason, discovered their existence and paid them a visit.  He ultimately brother the young mother with her two sons and one daughter back to the family land where she lived the remainder of her life.

Penelope’s children, Jonathan, James and Ruth, settled into life with their cousins, aunts and uncles.   They grew to fine adults, each marrying and having families of their own.  The middle child, James, married a young widow named Margaret and the two had four children.  Paulina, Abigail, Charles and Theodore never knew of their grandfather’s nefarious ways.

When Theodore was of age, he married Harriet, who gave birth to 6 girls and 2 boys.  The youngest of the girls was Darla Nichols.

*****************************************

Darla sat on the floor with photo albums and scrapbooks spread out all around her.  the photographs and clippings and momentos covered the floor of the room and represented a family dating back nearly 150 years.  Darla had decided to compile a bound book of family history and give it to her parents on their 25th wedding anniversary coming up in a month.  

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